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For the week of March 6 - 12, 2002


SV votes to fund Peak Hour bus service

Council will provide funds when conditions met

Express Staff Writer

The Sun Valley City Council voted Thursday to help fund the proposed Peak Hour bus service for six months with $10,000 .

Proponents of the Bellevue-to-Ketchum bus service were seeking $30,000 from Sun Valley to help fund 18 months of providing workday bus service up and down the valley three times a morning and three times an afternoon.

The 18-month plan, drafted by Blaine County Commissioner Sarah Michael, also asks for $30,000 each from the county and from the city of Ketchum.

Calling it "an opportunity for Sun Valley to exert leadership," Councilman Lud Renick made the motion to fund the bus service, but only for six months and with conditions.

Those conditions included that the bus service be sponsored by Blaine County, that $34,000 in bus passes be sold, and that the county and the city of Ketchum agree to pitch in $10,000 each to the bus service.

The motion passed with ayes from Councilman Renick, Council President Latham Williams and Councilwoman Ann Agnew.

Councilman Kevin Laird opposed the motion, and Mayor Dave Wilson was absent.

Commissioner Michael made the presentation for funding with Beth Callister, the executive director of Wood River Rideshare.

Callister came up with the idea of a Peak Hour bus service in December, but so far she hasn’t sold enough passes to put the service into action.

She is selling annual passes for $550 and monthly passes for $50. At present, she has $18,650 in the bank from the passes she has sold.

Sun Valley wants to see this bank balance up to $34,000—money that Callister and Michael hope to raise from selling bus passes to valley employers—before it commits its $10,000.

Sun Valley also wants the county commission to be the authority overseeing and managing the bus service during the six month period.

The council said it did not want Terry Crawford taking time away from his job of managing the Ketchum Area Rapid Transit system to manage the Peak Hour bus service.

For her part, Michael would like to see KART manage the Peak Hour bus service and expand its mission from shuttling tourists around Ketchum and Sun Valley to becoming a valleywide public transportation service.

Councilman Laird said he was opposed to changing the mission of KART.

He also was opposed to funding the Peak Hour bus service, since the city had already made "a hidden investment" of $20,000 in the service.

"With a $20,000 shortfall, we’re already funding you," he told Michael.

Laird was referring to a grant written by the commission to the Idaho Transportation Department for rural transportation funds, a source where KART also gets funding.

The county was awarded less than it asked for this year, but it was granted $20,000.

KART also got less than it asked for by $20,000.

Michael admitted that the county had competed with KART for the money, but Laird didn’t have any evidence of the county’s gain being the cause of KART’s loss.

John O’Connor, the Sun Valley representative to the KART board of directors, suggested that KART may have suffered the shortfall no matter what the county did.

"We don’t know we were cut because the county was funded," he said.

Laird remained critical.

"I think this proposal is a slow bureaucratic creep to get KART involved," he said. "I don’t think it is worth the funding at this point, and it’s a back way to get KART to run it."

In her presentation to the council, Michael argued that a valleywide bus system was "vital to the economy" and that valley employers were behind the idea of the bus service.

"We can afford this in this valley," she said.

Councilwoman Ann Agnew said, "If we’re willing to subsidize housing, we should be will to subsidize this bus service."


The Idaho Mountain Express is distributed free to residents and guests throughout the Sun Valley, Idaho resort area community. Subscribers to the Idaho Mountain Express will read these stories and others in this week's issue.